Washington, December 04, 2012
First Published: 08:22 IST(4/12/2012)
Last Updated: 11:22 IST(4/12/2012)
In a setback to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, a group of
25 American lawmakers have urged the US secretary of state Hillary
Clinton to continue denying visa to the BJP leader, stating that his
government has not adequately pursued justice of the 2002 Gujarat riot victims.
"As Mr Modi continues to pursue a potential run for higher office, we
believe a change in policy to his request for a visa will only embolden
Modi and his government's efforts to obstruct further investigations
and the tandem prosecution that have still to be finished to bring the
perpetrators to justice," as many as 25 members of the US House of
Representatives wrote in a letter to Clinton.
Dated November 29, the letter addressed to Clinton was released to
the press yesterday, by Republican Congressman Joe Pitts and Frank Wolf
on the eve of their joint press conference at the Capitol Hill with
family members of the victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots.
"India is a thriving democracy, and one that is aspiring to a high
standard of leadership and progress. It is disturbing that certain
parties in India are considering elevating Modi, despite his tie to
these attacks. Allowing him to enter the United States will only serve
to abdicate his responsibility for the 2002 human rights abuses," the
Among other prominent lawmakers who signed the letter include John
Conyers, Trent Franks, James Moran, Michael Honda, Bill Pascrell,
Barbara Lee, Edward Markey, Jim Jordan, Dan Burton, Michael Capuano and
Observing that the Bush administration "rightly denied" Modi a visa
to enter the United States, the lawmakers said as he is currently
seeking support for a possible bid for prime ministership, including
meetings with leaders of foreign nations, "we expect" that he may again
request entry into the United States.
"We respectfully request that the US government deny Mr Modi entry
due to numerous reports of his involvement in horrific human rights
violations in India," the lawmakers said.
"As you may know, Mr Modi served as the chief minister of Gujarat
during the 2002 riots that ultimately resulted in the rape of countless
women and children, the destruction of homes and businesses and the loss
of 2,000 lives," the Congressmen alleged.
"Non-governmental organizations have alleged that the state
government in Gujarat, led by chief minister Modi, provided leadership
and material support to the perpetrators of these horrific crimes. After
their investigation of violence, Human Rights Watch stated that the
'attacks against Muslims (and other religious minorities) in Gujarat
have been actively supported by state BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)
government officials and by the police'," the letter alleged.
Noting that in the past, the State Department has denied Modi a visa
under the authority of the International Religious Freedom Act for his
complicity in the riots, the lawmakers said the State Department has
stated that the Gujarat government has not adequately pursued justice of
the victims of the 2002 violence.
"As there has been no further resolution to these issues and justice
has yet to be fully realized for the victims of the riots, we ask that
you continue to deny Mr Modi a visa. As Mr Modi continues to pursue a
potential run for higher office, we believe a change in policy to his
request for a visa will only embolden Modi and his government's efforts
to obstruct further investigations and the tandem prosecutions that have
still to be finished to bring the perpetrators to justice," the